The 4 Best Tom Mics – Reviews 2024

best tom mics

Photo by Nathanael Coyne  / CC BY

Finding proper drum mics in a studio or with a PA system can be very tricky business. There are enough factors that affect the final audio output to make your head dizzy, whether it’s proper drum tuning, mic placement, the type of the drum itself, and so many more.

To reduce the possibility of an occurring headache, you might want to consider equipping yourself with a proper set of drum microphones. These reduce the chance of many types of sound issues, they deliver a better sound, and they work better in a wider specter of positions, making your job much easier. This time around, we’ll focus on the tom region.

Here are our top picks for the 4 best tom mics on the market:

Tom Mics 1: Shure PGA56-XLR

The great thing about Shure is that pretty much every single item they ever made is guaranteed to deliver top-notch performance. As one of the finest mixtures of quality audio and a fair price, we bring you the PGA56-XLR model.

The mic utilizes a swivel joint for convenient placement and versatile positioning, along with a cardioid polar pattern that’s capable of picking up audio directly from the source while rejecting any unwanted noise, and an updated industrial design with black metallic finish and a high-end grille.

Also included in the mix is a drum mount for easy attachment to drum rims and a zipper pouch for convenient transport.

Now in the sonic department, this thing delivers an amazing audio quality. It will capture your drum performance very effectively, giving it extra strength and power, while still retaining the organic vibe of your drumming.

Note that the product is available with a 15-foot XLR-XLR cable for a small extra fee. This is one of the best tom mics on the market.

Tom Mics 2: CAD Audio D12 Dynamic Microphone, Cardioid

In the budget friendly department, we’d like you to meet the CAD Audio D12, a very versatile mic for the given price and a top-notch choice for any audio engineer looking to save a few bucks and still retain a quality sound.

This cardioid polar pattern device utilizes a neat frequency response of 50 Hz to 16kHz, and especially shines through when used for drum toms.

The listed frequency response and the microphone’s overall characteristics work very well for capturing the intricacies of drum toms, ranging from smaller mounting toms to larger floor toms. Many users have also praised the device’s ability to work with the big bass drum, so keep that in mind as well.

For the listed price, this is a very good option on all fronts. The sound is strong and natural, the casing is sturdy and reliable, and there’s even a mic clip included in the mix.

This mic works very well for capturing a sound packed with strong mids and basses, while also delivering a quite decent performance with brighter audio outputs. You will get more than you’ve paid for, and that’s saying something. This is a likely contender for the best tom mic for the money.

Tom Mics 3: Sennheiser E604 Dynamic Cardioid

You’ll find Sennheiser mics in the cabinets of recording engineers the world over. They’ve been one of the foremost producers of recording equipment for over 70 years, and the breadth of their experience is obvious when you hear the sound that’s captured on their mics.

This mic is part of their Evolution Wired series. Consistency and clarity are the buzz words of the series. The e604 is one of several dynamic cardioid mics in the series. There are two traits that make this particular mic especially good for toms. The first is the frequency range. It catches sounds up to 20,000 kHz, giving you more on the high end of the frequency range than other mics in the line.

The other important quality is its low sensitivity to extraneous noise, either from handling or impacts. This means you can capture all the nuance of the tom sound without anything else getting in the way.

The exterior construction is equally thoughtful. Not only is the casing durable enough to protect the sensitive components inside, it’s also compact and designed specifically for easy positioning—especially important for drum mics, which often need to be placed in tight or awkward spaces.

While it’s perfect for toms, don’t think this mic is a one-trick pony, either. It also performs well for snares, bongos, and other similar percussion instruments, making it a great all-purpose choice for recording an entire kit with a bare bones mic set-up.

Tom Mics 4: Shure PGA DRUM KIT 5

Finally, we bring you the ultimate drum microphone pack, the PGADRUMKIT5. Coming straight from the world’s leading manufacturer of microphones, the package includes a total of five different mics.

Specifically, it features a single PGA52 cardioid dynamic kick drum microphone, a set of three PGA56 cardioid dynamic snare/Tom microphones, a single PGA57 cardioid dynamic instrument microphone, an A25D break-resistant microphone clip, three AP56DM break-resistant drum rim mounts, a convenient pack of five C15J 15-foot (4.6 m) XLR-XLR cables, and a 95F16526 zippered carrying case.

Regardless of the environment, these mics (see full specs) will deliver the best vibe your drum toms can possibly present. They will give your drum kit a voice you never knew was there. They are equally efficient in live setting or in studio surrounding.

Basically, if you’re looking to invest into a single mic set to cover you on all fronts long-term, this is the one you should buy in our humble opinion. In other words, these are the best tom mics period.

“What should I look for when buying mics for drum toms?”

The first thing you should ask yourself is “Do I need these for live gigs, studio recording, or both?” Once you have that question answered, you should realize that live mics are quite easier to find and require less optimization, whereas studio stuff is a tad more tricky. If you need both, you’re in for a real hoot.

There is also another thing we should dedicate a few lines to – mic placement. Regardless of the quality of your microphones, you will need to know how to place them properly to get the best sound out of your tom.  Mere millimeters, let alone inches, can make a world of difference, so you should really do some research on the matter and learn how to place your mics depending on the audio output you want your toms to deliver.

Finally, if you’re looking to get microphones for yourself and not for your studio – get practicing, ’cause that’s the absolute best way to improve your sound, both in live and studio environment. After all, the best tom mics mean diddly squat if you don’t practice. Good luck!

Written and Reviewed By

  • Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel.

  • Marko is the senior editor and writer on Ultimate Guitar, the No. 1 guitar spot on the web, since early 2013. His work was also featured on a variety of other notable gear spots such as Guitar Fella, Consordini, and, of course, Song Simian. His musical journey began at a very young age, and he finally opted to pick up an instrument in his early teenage years. A fan of King Crimson. A travel enthusiast.

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